Kimberley Griffiths Little grew up in San Francisco, but now lives in an adobe house on the banks of the Rio Grande with her chaotic, messy family. She thinks she has drunk so much Land of Enchantment water that some of that ancient magic got into her blood and now spurts out her pencil—read ergonomic keyboard. She has been scribbling stories since she was a kid and it’s a thrilling dream-come-true to see them on the bookstore and library shelves. She makes too many cookies when she’s revising and she’s got the best book trailers for reals! Check them out on her website or on YouTube. She has stayed in a haunted castle tower room at Borthwick Castle in Scotland, sailed the Seine in Paris, walked the beaches of Normandy, ridden a camel in Petra, shopped the Brand Bazaar in Istanbul, and spent the night in an old Communist hotel in Bulgaria. Visit her here or connect with her on twitter or facebook.
NAW- Tell us about your book, Forbidden. How did you get the idea for it? What is it about?
I’m an amateur belly dancer which started my research—leading me to all kinds of Very Cool Things! – and I’ve had a long-time love affair with the ancient history of the Middle East—and camels! They’re gigantic, but very affectionate and love to be petted and cooed over!
This is the story of a girl in 1759 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia betrothed to a boy she despises, but who is the prince of her tribe—and everything goes very, very wrong. The novel includes the roots of belly dance, the Goddess Temples of Ashtoreth, tribal warfare, murder, blackmail, and a shadowy mysterious boy from the secret frankincense lands.
NAW- How long did you take to finish Forbidden? How do you decide the titles for your books?
I first drafted FORBIDDEN 10 years ago, but worked on several other novels that were published by Scholastic during that time period. I loved the story of Jayden and her secret, forbidden love of Kadesh and the mystery of his caravan attack. About once a year I’d return to the manuscript and revise it over and over and over again, deepening the characters and the plot and making it more exciting and twisty with every revision.
It was originally called Secret Rites of the Goddess. TitlesARE hard and for awhile I shortened it to just GODDESS. HarperCollins came up with the title of FORBIDDEN—which really fits the book since there are so many forbidden aspects of the storyline. Book 2 now has a title: BANISHED!
NAW- What can a novice reader expect from Forbidden?
A delicious, mesmerizing novel with betrothals gone very, very bad, tribal warfare, a swoony romance, and a journey that will test Jayden’s limits, perhaps even death in the empty desert with her camel—all set against the tapestry of belly dance and the seduction and prostitution worship of the goddess temples.
Because of its ancient time period which is so unfamiliar to most people, many early readers are calling it historical fantasy—but it’s all based on fact and a decade of research! I’ve also traveled to many places in the book like Petra and the ancient Frankincense trail—or King’s Highway.
NAW- You have written for both children and young adults; which is more difficult?
FORBIDDEN took much longer to get into a publishable state and I did so many revisions I lost count so I would say YA is more difficult. But I’ve written so many middle-grade novels that I think I just have more practice at it and I can now plan out a story idea for a Middle-Grade novel and draft it in just a few months.
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
My middle-grade novels with Scholastic have won several awards and they take place in the bayous/swamps of Louisiana. They’re family stories with Magical Realism elements, time-slipping, a ghost story, and mysterious cursed heirloom dolls.
Titles are: THE HEALING SPELL, CIRCLE OF SECRETS, WHEN THE BUTTERFLIES CAME (magical butterflies in Micronesia!) and THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES (time slipping over 5 generations of girls back to 1912).
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
I love movies, making cookies (and eating them!) I’m also a pianist and organist and play for my church. My husband and I love to dance and I have a super busy family. I make dinner for 8 people every night! We live on the banks of the Rio Grande river and I take long walks every day under giant cottonwood trees. I love big dangly earrings, pizza and Dr. Pepper, and having lunch with my writer friends. I’m very, very blessed.
NAW- Please name your favourite writers. Are there any who you’d like to name as an inspiration?
Charlotte Bronte, Elizabeth Goudge, Katherine Paterson, Lois Lowry, Richard Peck, Maggie Stievfater, Cassandra Clare, Anita Diamant, Liane Moriarty.
NAW-What are you currently reading?
A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU by Claudia Gray
DON’T LOOK BACK by Jennifer Armentrout
THE SECRET ROOMS: A True Story of a Haunted Castle, a plotting Duchess, & A Family Secret by Catherine Bailey
NAW- What will you be working on next?
I’m currently revising Book 2 of the FORBIDDEN trilogy with my editor at HarperCollins. It’s called BANISHED. It will be out in a year or so. I’ve got a Victorian Gothic suspense novel with some Steampunk elements I’m revising and some proposals for more Middle-Grade with Scholastic. So stay tuned! And then there’s Book 3 to draft over the next several months.